The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) says the National Security Council (NCS) has discussed a new legislative framework to give intermediate and specific powers to the security forces.

In a statement issued on Monday, OPM said that last Friday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness chaired the monthly sitting of the security council. According to OPM, the Prime Minister noted that the overall crime rate is comparatively lower than the same period in 2018.

However, Mr. Holness expressed concern about the unacceptable levels of murders and shootings across the country. OPM says arising from the recent discontinuation of the states of emergency, Holness proposed that the Council discuss the proposed Enhanced Security Measures law.

According to OPM, the proposed law is being designed to empower the Security Forces with the tools deemed necessary to disrupt criminal networks and reduce violence.

OPM says the main elements of the framework for the draft Enhanced Security Measures legislation were agreed. The elements include conditions that must exist to trigger and sustain the enhanced security measures and system of accountability to protect the rights of citizens.

OPM says measures discussed recently by the security council include specific powers to be given to the security forces such as search and detention. The issue of which members of the security forces are to be given such powers was also discussed. According to OPM, despite the proposed new legislation, the Prime Minister emphasized during the meeting of the security council that the use of the State of Public Emergency is still a viable option to be implemented if required.

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